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Republicans are scared because Trump is handling impeachment response himself — and not taking their help: report

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On Wednesday, The New York Times‘ Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni reported that Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the Trump administration are concerned that President Donald Trump has not built a “war room” for impeachment. He instead appears to be content to direct the strategy against the House Democrats’ inquiry on his own and on the fly — stymieing allies who need guidance and talking points to coordinate a defense of the president.

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“For now, the White House has no organized response to impeachment, little guidance for surrogates to spread a consistent message even if it had developed one, and minimal coordination between the president’s legal advisers and his political ones,” wrote Haberman and Karni. “And West Wing aides are divided on everything from who is in charge to whether, after two years of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, impeachment even poses a serious political threat to the president.”

“This is a very different animal than the Mueller investigation,” said former Mitch McConnell aide Josh Holmes. “It’s a political question, not a legal one. They need to persuade Republicans in the House and the Senate of a bunch of really good arguments to have the partywide insulation the president is going to prefer going into this fight.”

Complicating matters still further, wrote Haberman and Karni, is that “Behind the scenes, Mr. Trump has seesawed from projecting confidence that there is a political benefit from the impeachment fight to lashing out at aides, blaming them for the fact that he is entangled by it in the first place.”

A practical consequence of Trump’s lack of direction is that while GOP staffers are holding meetings on the upcoming impeachment, their ability to map out strategy is very limited — as was made clear when a group of GOP congressional aides gathered to discuss the impeachment threat.

“Paul Teller, an aide in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs, quizzed the group about whether it thought a long or short impeachment process would play better with the president’s base,” wrote Haberman and Karni. “Mr. Teller also told the group that he believed Mr. Trump would want to see Mr. McConnell bring impeachment to a vote on the Senate floor, where Mr. Trump would be acquitted, rather than move to simply dismiss the charges.” But these are merely questions of how impeachment will play out, not how to counteract it.

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And in the middle of all this, some Republicans are reportedly starting to wonder whether it’s even worth it anymore.

“Starting to encounter Republicans who wonder if maybe the President should step aside for Pence,” tweeted right-wing blogger Erick Erickson on Tuesday. “They’re absolutely in the minority on the GOP side, but there does seem to be a fatigue setting in — tired of always fighting and always having to defend.”


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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